In the vast digital world, making a genuine connection with your audience is both essential and elusive. One sometimes overlooked aspect of this task is relatability. When your target market can relate to your brand, whether it’s through a funny meme or a blog post about something they struggle with, they are more likely to connect with your brand emotionally. This emotional connection makes your brand more memorable, an impressive feat in a world where we see an estimated 4,000 – 10,000 ads each day.
Here are some tips for creating a relatable brand in the digital age:
Know Your Target Market
The first step to creating a relatable brand is understanding who needs to relate to you. Who is your target consumer? What do they struggle with on an average day? What do they enjoy? What do they care about? What kind of content do they consume? What memes do they like? If research isn’t a strength for your marketing department, consider reaching out to a digital marketing agency like Digital Delane to learn the answers to your questions.
Next, you should think about your brand personality. Ideally it will complement your target customer’s own personality – for example, your marketing messages might share a style of humor or topics of interest with your audience members.
Understand Customer Needs
Being relatable will help build a relationship with your target consumer, drawing them into your social media content and possibly to your website or store. But to move the customer deeper into the sales funnel, it’s necessary to understand and meet the customer’s needs. Once again, research is key. Going beyond personality, learn what your target consumer needs. How does your brand meet those needs? How are you communicating that you meet those needs?
As a CMO or brand manager, it’s easy to get caught up in the features of your product or service. But sometimes we get distracted by trying to explain these features and forget about what the consumer needs. The solution is to complete deep research into customer requirements, then start with this data when planning content, ads, or other marketing messages.
Start a Conversation and Keep it Going
A conversation is a two-way street, and having one with your audience is a great way to gain valuable information. Use these tips to begin the conversation and continue it:
Going back to your research again, consider the content your target consumer both enjoys and posts. Notice the words and phrases they use. If you’re going after Gen Z, for example, they may have different slang than you’re used to as, say, a Millennial. You want to talk to your audience in a way that makes sense to them.
But be careful! As a follow-up to the last point, authenticity is also crucial. There’s a fine line between speaking to your audience in a language they understand and writing something cringeworthy. Run your copy by multiple people in the target market before finalizing it.
Your brand personality should show in your writing and take into account the communication style your audience prefers. While using formal language may work for a very serious corporate brand, many consumers prefer a more casual approach to marketing communications. In other words, people usually like for a brand to sound like a person, not a corporate memo.
This applies to more than just generational cohorts. In each cohort there are subsets, and the more narrowly you define your audience, the better you can identify and meet their needs. Profession, income level, and geographical area all have a strong effect on the language audiences use as well.
Remember the earlier question about what your target consumer cares about and use the answers as fodder for content topics. If research shows that a significant percentage of your audience cares about a sporting event, a new video game, a local attraction, or another subject, think about ways to use these topics. You might write a blog post, sponsor a local event, make a game day video, etc.
Use real-time monitoring. When you post on social media or your website or run an ad, you’re inviting the consumer to join you in a digital conversation. This means you need someone to monitor your website and social channels for DMs, replies, comments, contact form requests, etc. You don’t want these piling up and giving the impression that you ignore your fans or potential customers. Depending on the size of your following, this may necessitate hiring a full-time social media employee, or contracting with an agency that can handle monitoring and responding for you.
Don’t Be Afraid to Be Different
Some brands try too hard to be perfect and it leads to dull, unrelatable branding. Depending on your brand personality, you may find that it’s good to stand out from the crowd or even be controversial. Asking questions of your audience and pushing boundaries – within reason – may result in better engagement and a stronger connection with your target market. Trying different ways to communicate can also help you learn what works well for your brand.
Spending More Isn’t Always Better
Surprised? Some agencies may tell you that more spending is always the way to go. It’s true that in many situations, a targeted increase in the budget can help improve results. But in other cases, it’s more useful to focus on humanizing your brand or establishing a genuine connection with your target market. If you’ve tried a budget increase but the results have been disappointing, there are two possibilities:
Spending wasn’t the issue.
Spending was the issue, but you need to spend in different areas. This could mean shifting money to different channels or changing your ad bidding strategy. For example, Truffle Shuffle, a company that makes retro merchandise, was able to increase revenue by 114 percent after adding Google Display ads to its existing Smart Shopping and Search strategy.
Even for an experienced marketing manager, it’s sometimes difficult to figure out why a financial investment didn’t pay off. If you need assistance with analysis and restructuring your marketing plan, an outside perspective from a digital agency may be helpful.
Go Behind the Scenes and Show Your Human Side
Many marketers focus “behind-the-scenes” videos and content on the product or service – “How is the cheese made?” type posts. There is nothing wrong with these, but you don’t want to spend all your time on the product. Instead, consider the following:
Find a fun way to introduce your team. Do you have a boring “Meet the Team” page that lists the equivalent of everyone’s LinkedIn profile? Think about getting rid of it and replacing it with something entertaining. You could make videos asking each team member to share a fun fact or personal story about themselves – ideally something that has nothing to do with work. Depending on your brand personality, you might give team members the option of introducing themselves through dance, artwork, or their favorite cartoon character.
Consider sneak peeks or “behind-the-scenes” videos that are just for fun. Maybe you show the weekly desk chair race in your office or track how long the last donut stays in the break room before someone nabs it.
Another option is to feature content where team members give back to the community – volunteering, teaching, or even doing an explainer video about a topic of interest to your target audience.
Consider a Cause the Company and its Customers Are Both Passionate About
Consumers today love brands with a social conscience. If you can find a way to combine the brand with a social or charitable mission, it can go a long way toward making the brand more relatable to consumers. There are multiple ways to do this, some more involved than others.
If you’re going to use this approach, make sure you think about all the angles and do it in a way that maximizes social good without causing more harm. In the event that someone discovers any issue with your promotion of the cause, this type of marketing could end up generating less than positive publicity.
You should also be certain that your efforts are sustainable for your company. Tom’s Shoes, which rose to popularity as a shoe company that donated “one for one” (one pair of shoes for each one sold), ended up abandoning the model that dozens of other business leaders once used as inspiration. Some critics questioned whether the shoe company was really helping with large numbers of shoe donations, or if they might be hurting local economies in some areas. On top of that, the company’s founders eventually realized that they simply weren’t making much of a profit due to their level of giving. Ultimately, Tom’s moved to simply pledging a portion of profits to charitable causes instead.
In the modern world, consumers are most likely to follow and buy from the most relatable brands. This means creating a brand personality that feels like a friend to your target market. How you accomplish this depends on your brand’s distinct features. If you need help with brand voice, brand personality, or other aspects of digital marketing, please don’t hesitate to contact Digital Delane for a free consultation.